This photo project empowers you to “rock your ugly” and beat your body insecurities [mildly NSFW]

Jul 10, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

This photo project empowers you to “rock your ugly” and beat your body insecurities [mildly NSFW]

Jul 10, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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I don’t think there’s a person who’s completely free of body insecurities. However, many people get so occupied by their “flaws” that it becomes a real struggle. These can, in turn, lead to eating disorders and all sorts of mental health problems.

UAE-based photographer Waleed Shah wanted to explore other people’s body insecurities and hear their stories, as well as share his. From this idea, an amazing project was born. It’s called Rock Your Ugly, and it shows real people and shares their stories. They talk about their insecurities and how they’ve faced them and beaten them. And of course, all this is followed by beautiful black and white portraits.

Waleed writes that the idea came to him after a self-portrait he took on his 31st birthday in January 2017. At the time, his looks really started to bother him. Several factors had made him stop exercising regularly, and he began to feel insecure about his belly.

After posting the photo on Instagram, Waleed admits that he didn’t really do anything about it until the summer. “I went on holiday, ate a whole bunch of junk to the point where my wife started calling me Pablo Escobar (referencing the belly).” This is when he decided that it was time to take responsibility and do something about the thing that bothered him. He read a book called The Obesity Code, applied the tips he’d learned, and lost 10kg (around 20lbs) in three months.

Back then, the idea came to Waleed to listen to other people’s stories, photograph them, and then share them with the world. However, it was a tragic event in Waleed’s life that really motivated him to bring his idea to reality. Waleed lost his best friend to cancer, and he needed something to get his mental state back on track. “The process was like group therapy. I would listen to someone else’s pain and share mine,” he writes.

I must say I’m unbelievably sorry that such a tragedy made Waleed start working on the project. However, I’m glad that it has seen the light of day. The thing is: I believe that projects like this are extremely important. Rock Your Ugly shows everyone with body insecurities that they’re not alone. It shows them that they’re beautiful no matter the “flaws” and that beauty is, and has always been, in the eye of the beholder. Finally, I believe that it helps people see that they’re strong enough to embrace their “imperfections,” beat their insecurities, and “rock their ugly.” And rock it big time!

I leave you now with the fantastic portraits Waleed has made as a part of the Rock Your Ugly project. Make sure to visit the project’s website to read the full stories of these amazing people. It’s ongoing, so you can join if you like and share your story with the world. You can see more of Waleed’s work on his website and Instagram, where you can also get in touch if you’d like to participate.

Lotus Habbab: “When I was 11 months old I fell off the bed and my arm was resting in between the spaces of the winter heater”
Tac: “When I look in the mirror I see a beautiful, confident, sexy man”
Huda Shahin: “My face started to grow towards one side and my chin started to go off centre”
Saskia: “I edit my nose in all of my images as I don’t find it pretty at all”
Laura Brocca: “I have scoliosis and I wear backless dresses now”
Dia Hassan: “When I left insurance I threw away every suit I owned”
Myrna Ayman: “I’ve learned how to perfect the art of throwing up after meals, I wear a size 1”
Karina Sandhu: “Men want to marry thin girls”
Danae Mercer: “Let’s rock this, bellies and all”
Hamdan Al Abri: “I didn’t want to go out because people might think I have a disease “
Azza Al Mughairy: “After giving birth I was on water and juice only and lost 15kg”
Maha Aj: “If you get a nose job, you would look much better”
Hassan “Tiny” Shams: “I’m here to set an example for other plus size individuals”
Hiam Salibi: “I hid in a municipality dumpster in AL Khan till my mom and stepdad drove by and picked me up”
Joelle Van Schaik: “I got my first open heart surgery when I was just under a year old”
Reham Khalifa: “Ever since I’ve had my first child I’ve switched to the “boyfriend pants” look to cover up my belly”

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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